Sunday, April 25, 2010

The Youth are starting to change

Over the past few months I have been really paying close attention to the next generation of players who will make it big (One hopes) in world football. When evaluating young talent there is a lot to take in. However there is little doubt when you see the skill a young player has on the ball or in the form they have when they shoot. Figuring out if a player has the mental strength to survive the highest levels of the game is not my strong suit, but in this list of players I'm about to unveil I can tell you that based on skill these boys make the grade.

Here are my top 5 young guns to look out for:

5) Mario Balotelli (Italy/Inter Milan) No doubt the boy is a bit of head case and massively impatient. However no one can doubt that he has the body and strength of a full grown professional footballer. He also has a knack of scoring big goals in big matches. Especially in Milan derby's and in European competitions. The question will always be can he put the ego aside and accept the role given to him...that question is still be answered.

4) Sergio Canales (Spain/Racing de Santander, Real Madrid, As of Sep 2010)
Trust me when I say this boy is a special talent, it's the reason Real Madrid spent 5 million Euros to sign him for next season. At 19 Canales will be the next generation of great Spanish talent with goal scoring ability and excellent vision, in the line of Cesc Fabregas and Xavi. My one fear is that he'll get buried at Madrid behind all the high priced midfield talent they have at the club. However it could also be a time for him to shine considering the clean out Real does every summer.

3)Eden Hazard (Belgium/Lille)
Hazard is one of the most sought after young players in European football. His recent displays against Liverpool in the Europa league has added fuel to this fire. He is technically gifted with two excellent feet and full pitch vision. Hazard also possess excellent pace on the wing, allowing him to either set up his strikers or create space for himself to take a shot. Unlike the two below him, Hazard will not have an opportunity to show off at the World Cup this year as Belgium did not qualify, however he will become the offensive anchor for the national team over the next 10 years or so.

2)Mesut Özil (Germany/Werder Bremen)
He is an excellent two footed attacking midfielder who is on the cusp of breaking thru to the German senior squad, and I'll be very surprised if he's not in the running to make Germany's 2010 WC squad. His has an amazing shot from distance and is a great play maker for those around him. At last summer's Euro U21, he stole the show as Germany romped to the tournament title. He's still growing into his body which makes his strength an issue, but he makes up for this with excellent technical ability.

1)Angel Di Maria (Argentina/Benfica)
Hard choice as all of these player could have taken the number one spot, however based on what I've seen Di Maria is the next big player. His pace, technical ability on the ball, and the fact that he seems to raise his game to the next level when his team needs him the most says to me that he can be a world class player. He is a left footed attacking player but he has shown that his right can be just as deadly. Di Maria also scores big goals for Benfica which currently sits atop the league in Portugal and he's a massive reason why. As I said for Özil, I would be shocked if Di Maria was left of the Argentina squad for WC 2010 as he provides an natural left wing attack for Maradona's squad.

Honourable mentions: Joe Hart, Daniel Sturridge,Federico "Kiko" Macheda, Gervinho, Bojan Krkić, Pedro, Adam Johnson, Stefan Kießling.

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